MELAKA, July 14 — The Melaka International Airport (LTAM) in Batu Berendam here will resume operations via Melaka-Pekanbaru-Melaka and Melaka-Penang-Melaka flights by Batik Air from August 12.

State Tourism, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Muhammad Jailani Khamis said flights to the two destinations would be available thrice a week but the frequency would be increased depending on demand.

He said flight tickets were already on sale on the website, with prices starting from RM299 for one-way flights to Pekanbaru, Indonesia and RM199 for one-way flights to Penang.

“These flights will use the ATR-72 aircraft by Batik Air, formerly known as Malindo Air, and we are targeting about 30,000 tourists to use LTAM as an air route to Melaka or to the other two destinations.

“It is hoped that the opening of LTAM through these commercial flights will revive air travelling in Melaka, which used to receive very encouraging response from foreign and local tourists,” he told a press conference here today.

He added that special charter flights were also expected to be activated from LTAM to Jakarta, Indonesia through Syarikat Straits Connect (M) Sdn Bhd to bring foreign tourists wishing to seek medical treatment in Melaka.

He said the special charter flights were expected to start in mid-August and hoped the effort could boost the health tourism sector which was in high demand among Indonesians.

Muhammad Jailani said the state government had also received an application from World Asia Logistics (M) Sdn Bhd to make LTAM a regional cargo hub but the matter was still at the discussion stage with Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB).

“We still have five areas at the airport that have not been used and can be explored for the purpose of cargo placement.

“We also plan to make LTAM an intercity air taxi hub that uses light aircraft such as Cessna which can carry about 12 to 20 passengers to states like Perak and Johor,” he said.

He added that the initiative would be implemented as an alternative mode of transportation to reduce traffic congestion, especially during festive holidays or long public holidays. — Bernama